The Montessori Method is one of the most successful forms of education. In fact, many successful historical figures, including Anne Frank, Hellen Keller, and Eric Erickson were educated in a Montessori school!
Dr. Montessori had a different view of educating, instead of constantly forcing a set of skills, or knowledge, she embraced each child as a whole. She viewed education as a natural and ongoing process. She appreciated their unique human spirit, and their interactive way of development, including social, emotional, physical, and cognitive.
“When dealing with children there is greater need for observing than of probing”-Maria Montessori
This child-centered approach to education gives children the opportunity to learn to their fullest potential. This is done through self-directed hands on play, and control of error.
Simple ways to utilize the Montessori Method at home:
- USE A SHELF THAT IS LOW TO THE GROUND TO DISPLAY ACTIVITIES.
Use a simple approach to display fine motor, sensory, and developmentally appropriate activities your toddler is interested in. You can store these in different texture, color and size of baskets and trays. This keeps all materials accessible and organized for the child to use and know where to put them back after done playing with them.
- USE CHILD SIZED TOOLS, AND UTENSILS.
Practice self-care while using real child sized eating utensils. Also, make sure to have a small table and chair that is easy to move around. This shows the toddler he is trusted, while at the same time, it’s building his self-confidence through the roof!
- CREATE A READING CORNER.
Use a small chair or couch and make a reading corner with an accessible bookshelf. Add pillows and a rug for a comfy and calming feel. This is a great way to foster early literacy skills in your toddler.
- HAVE ART MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES.
Create an art table with sheets of blank paper and coloring utensils that can be available at all times. Also, you can add stickers, stamp pads, glue, paint, and whatever else you would like. Arrange these art supplies in a storage bin on a child sized table. The process of art is a huge way children communicate their feelings with us, but also creates opportunity of sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
- PRACTICE CARE-OF SELF WITH DRESSING FRAMES.
Practice practical skills with clothing. Start with your toddler learning to take off his socks, then moving to elastic band pants, then shirt etc. Also, having a dressing frame available is a great control of error learning experience.
- USE SENSORY BINS.
These are great for learning while using their senses. Get any storage container, preferably big in size, and add different colored rice, beans, rocks, birdseed, shaving cream, or anything else you can think off. Then, just add some measuring spoons, funnels, bowels, small plastic animals, and other fun play items. Some of the things children learn through prepared sensory activities are practical skills, sensory and social development, and independent play. This type of tactile play also encourages focus and relaxation.
- DISPLAY OF CHILDREN’S ART.
Display children’s art, either in a specific place in the house or just anywhere the child can see it. This builds self-confidence, and sense of self, knowing her art is important and appreciated.
- SET UP A NATURE TABLE.
Gather nature items in each season and put them on a table to be observed throughout the day. This can include plants, insects, sticks, flowers, rocks, vegetables, and more. Along with the nature items, have an available magnifying glass for an up-close look.
- BE PREPARED.
Create a prepared working environment. Keep the environment organized and as simple as possible. All things should have their own space on the shelf, with a label that includes the name and picture. Each item in the environment should contribute to building independence and self-confidence within the children. It should have a calming and peaceful feel while still stimulating. Simplicity at its best.
- ENCOURAGE OPPORTUNITY FOR FOCUSED “WORK” TIME.
Encourage uninterrupted blocks of “work” time. Independent play can come as a shock to some toddlers, they aren’t too sure what to think when the 24/7 entertainment is gone. This is a great time to model purposeful play. When your toddler seems like she is beginning to enjoy and focus on her work, slowly step back and observe.